Killer stepmum Emma Tustin ‘poisoned with salt’ by inmates in revenge for torturing Arthur Labinjo-Hughes

Emma Tustin was jailed for at least 29 years for murdering her stepson Arthur Labinjo-Hughes

A former cellmate of killer stepmum Emma Tustin told how inmates laced her meals with salt saying she “deserved” it for her treatment of six-year-old Arthur Labinjo Hughes.

The ex cellmate also said Tustin only “felt sorry” for herself.

Tustin, 32, was jailed on Friday for at least 29 years for starving, poisoning and then murdering Arthur, while her partner - Arthur’s dad, Thomas Hughes has been jailed for 21 years for manslaughter.

Arthur had died after being left with an “unsurvivable” brain injury while in Tustin’s care, and had 130 bruises on his body.

However, Tustin inflicted other cruelties upon him at her home in Solihull, such as salt poisoning and withholding food or drink.

She had poisoned the boy with a “significant” amount of salt just hours before fatally assaulting the youngster, and had also been administering “smaller doses of salt for some time” to his meals.

In his sentencing remarks Mr Justice Wall had said of Arthur: “He had been poisoned with so much salt that the levels of sodium in his blood could not be accurately and reliably measured by properly calibrated hospital equipment.”

In court last week Tustin’s defence had said inmates had thrown salt at her while she was on remand awaiting trial, and that she’s also received threats.

Emma Tustin (right) was found guilty of Arthur's murder, while Thomas Hughes (left) was found guilty of his manslaughter, after encouraging the killing

Tustin only ‘felt sorry’ for herself

Her former cellmate at Eastwood Park Prison in Gloucestershire, Elaine Pritchard, told The Sunday Mirror prisoners had spiked Tustin’s meals with salt, she said : “Some of the things we did were cruel – but she was crueller to Arthur so she deserved it.”

Elaine, who was her cellmate for six weeks also said Tustin lied to inmates saying she was in prison because Arthur’s dad Hughes “neglected” his son.

She said: “Emma hadn’t said anything about Arthur dying. She never mentioned him.”

She said the 32-year-old only “felt sorry for herself” but would “laugh and joke” on the phone despite facing trial for torturing the youngster.

“One day she came back from a plea hearing and was upset, so I asked, ‘What’s wrong?’

“She said, ‘He didn’t look at me, Tom never looked at me’. That was the only time I saw her upset about anything.”

Elaine, who also gave evidence at the trial, said she only found out the truth about Tustin’s sickening crimes when she found her case paperwork in their cell.

She explained: “We had a fight – it was me more than her.

“I got angry because I’d read about how he [Arthur] had 130 bruises and I asked how she wouldn’t notice when she gave him a bath.

“She said she just used to give him a towel. I pressed the bell and said if the prison officers didn’t get her out then I’d be staying there a long time.”

During the trial she had told how she threw Tustin out of their cell after finding out what she had done, she had told the court: “She was sat on her bed or on the chair, with her knees up, and I just started throwing her stuff into the corner of the room, saying ‘You’re getting out, you’re going’.

“I pressed the alarm bell for the staff, I feared I would end up staying in the prison.”

A major review has been launched into the circumstances that led to the death of six-year-old Arthur Labinjo-Hughes. (picture: PA)

Government announces major review into Arthur’s murder

It follows after the Government has announced a major review into the circumstances which led to the murder of six-year-old Arthur Labinjo-Hughes.

It aims to determine what improvements are needed by the agencies that came into contact with Arthur in the months before he was murdered by Tustin.

The National Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel will lead the review and will provide additional support to Solihull Children’s Safeguarding Partnership to “upgrade” the already existing local review which was launched shortly after Arthur’s death in June 2020.

The action comes after it emerged in court the boy had been seen by social workers just two months before his death, but they concluded there were “no safeguarding concerns”.

Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi said: “Arthur’s murder has shocked and appalled the nation.

“I am deeply distressed by this awful case and the senseless pain inflicted on this poor boy, who has been robbed of the chance to live his life.”

People release balloons during a tribute to Arthur Labinjo-Hughes outside Emma Tustin’s former address in Solihull

Moving tributes paid to murdered six-year-old

At the weekend dozens of residents paid tribute to Arthur in a vigil outside the house in Cranmore Road, Solihull, where the six-year-old was killed.

Organised by a local resident, the vigil saw people laying flowers, holding balloons and placing posters and banners paying tribute to Arthur at the property.

Arthur’s maternal grandmother Madeleine Halcrow could be seen wiping away tears at the vigil while wearing a T-shirt bearing his face.

The crowd lined the road before letting go of the balloons, some bearing messages, and applauding.

Residents, some with tears in their eyes, could be heard saying “bye Arthur” and “fly high always”.

Football fans also paid tribute with Aston Villa held a sixth minute applause in his memory before the team’s match on Sunday. Both Aston Villa fans and Leicester City fans sang “we love you Arthur we do”

Birmingham City also held a sixth minute applause for Arthur, with the team wearing t-shirts saying “we love you Arthur” on them ahead on the game on Sunday.

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